When Pedro Mantilla started law school, he knew he would one day open his own practice dedicated to immigration law.
Over 40 years ago, Pedro’s parents moved to the U.S. from Mexico to raise Pedro and his two siblings, settling down in Raleigh, North Carolina. After studying political science and Latin American studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Pedro served with AmeriCorps for one year. He worked at the Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina in Durham, gathering information and referrals to provide guidance and other resources for both English- and Spanish-speaking people with substance use disorder and their family members.
Pedro then spent the next three years at Elon University School of Law, while also working at an immigration clinic translating and interpreting for Spanish- and French-speaking clients and working on various asylum applications. After receiving his law license in May of 2015, he started working as an associate attorney at several Raleigh-area law firms while specializing in immigration law.
“I care about individuals from different countries who come to the United States, starting with my parents who had the opportunity to come here so long ago,” Pedro said. “That’s why I chose to dedicate my practice to immigration law. I’ve always loved this country, and as an immigration law attorney I hope to make this country even better.”
After seven years as a licensed attorney, Pedro was ready to open the Mantilla Immigration Law Office. He knew the importance of using SEO when building a brand, and that ads — whether on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn — influence people’s business decisions. To set himself apart from other attorneys, strengthen his technical skills, and gain a solid foundation for building his own website, Pedro enrolled in The Digital Marketing Boot Camp at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Learning in a remote world
Before enrolling in the boot camp, Pedro was no stranger to virtual learning. All active members of the North Carolina State Bar are required to complete 12 annual hours of approved Continuing Legal Education (CLE), which Pedro had done virtually after the onset of COVID-19. Despite this, he was still apprehensive about learning virtually, and was worried the course would be drastically different from his remote CLE experience.
“I was concerned that I would just be spoken to for hours at a time, staring at a screen with no room for collaboration or interactive elements,” Pedro said. “But my experience was the complete opposite.”
Pedro’s apprehension disappeared during the first week of classes as he started collaborating with classmates on homework assignments. Throughout the course of the boot camp, he also set up 1-on-1 tutoring sessions with his instructors and TA whenever he was confused about the course material. “The program couldn’t have run better,” he said.
By providing Pedro with newfound tech skills and confidence-building projects, the boot camp set a solid foundation for him to excel in his career as an attorney. “Today, I still find myself referring back to assignments and thinking: ‘Okay, how did I implement this concept then, and how can I implement it now?’” he said.
An enriching learning experience with quality classmates
Although the course material was all new to Pedro, it was introduced in a way that wasn’t extremely daunting or overwhelming. In just four months, Pedro gained experience with in-demand digital marketing tools and technologies including Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, and WordPress.
“We were introduced to general marketing, then digital marketing, and eventually the specific areas within digital marketing,” Pedro said. “The way the boot camp was structured was great, and really helped me build on the fundamental concepts needed to succeed in digital marketing.”
The boot camp also provided Pedro with an outlet for building long-lasting friendships and connections. As the only attorney in his cohort, Pedro studied with classmates from diverse professional backgrounds, which allowed him to engage with and learn from different perspectives when collaborating on homework assignments and projects.
“It was certainly helpful to have the support of classmates from different professional backgrounds,” he said. “I was able to tap them for help and advice on concepts we were studying and how to implement them into my work.”
Even after the boot camp, Pedro and his classmates still keep in touch on social media to share job opportunities, career advancements and achievements, and tips on the ever-evolving world of digital marketing. “We make sure to celebrate all victories,” he said.
Working with (fictional) nonprofits
The boot camp’s curriculum covers many fundamental digital marketing concepts and requires that students complete several group projects throughout the course. Inspired by the work Pedro does on a daily basis, he and his classmates created a website for a fictional nonprofit called One World, Many Stories, which supports individuals who are not literate in English by helping them to read, write, and speak the language.
“Working with my team to build this website was such a worthwhile experience,” Pedro said. “Coming up with different ideas, dividing up tasks, and presenting our final product together strengthened not only our technical skills, but also our soft skills.”
Open for business
The Mantilla Immigration Law Office officially opened its doors on May 2, 2022, concentrating on immigration cases dealing with removal defense, citizenship and immigration services (USCIS), consular processing, and immigration history. Pedro and his team are dedicated to “making your immigrant dreams a reality” in this new chapter of his professional career.
Using the skills he learned in the boot camp, Pedro was able to create his practice’s website using Bluehost, powered by WordPress. He also created various advertisements on Google and LinkedIn.
“I learned a lot from the boot camp that I can implement into my business,” Pedro said. “I’m excited to keep working on my foundation, building my client base, and of course advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.”
Ready to strengthen your tech skills? Check out UNC-Chapel Hill Boot Camps today to jump-start your future career in digital marketing, data analytics, coding, tech project management, or product management.